How to Write Real Estate Marketing Emails with Emotional Punch
By Sandra Manzanares
About Inbound Marketing
Consumers have a myriad of choices at their fingertips. Think about how you choose any product: While you probably do some research on specifications and features, science says that your emotions are a crucial part of decision making.
How emotions sell.
Successful marketers know minimizing the stress of decision making by offering emotional experiences can boost brand affinity and loyalty. Just look at brands like Nike who promote aspirational healthy, “Just Do It” lifestyles, not just sports products.
Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio discovered that people who had damage in the emotion-generating parts of their brains also had serious difficulty making decisions. He concluded that not only are emotions crucial, they are necessary for decision making. By tapping into customer emotion, you can easily facilitate a strong sales relationship with your customers.
In this diagram from the experts at MarketingProfs, you can see that emotion is more important than logic in 4 of their 5 buying stages, with logic being high only in the evaluation stage.
And Quick Sprout notes that emotionally engaged customers are 44% less likely to shop around and 300% more likely to recommend you.
The same applies in real estate: Even with the many restrictive specifications a client brings to the table when choosing a property, there are usually many remaining choices. What makes a client choose to move along with a transaction often comes down to an emotional impulse — just think about all the sales that happen as a result of a partner’s excited gasp.
How to create emotional marketing emails.
Real estate email marketing can help you tap into these emotions so you can guide leads through the sales funnel and build trust that lasts. Here, we discuss ways you can imbue emotion into your marketing emails and make your leads’ decisions easy.
1. Decide your outcome.
Before diving into the creative pieces of constructing your email, you need to think on a strategic level. Think about what you are trying to achieve in this one, specific email to get your customer to the next stage of the sales funnel. Write it down, as this will form your emotional email and help form your call to action (CTA) later. Then, segment your email list so your message can be as targeted as possible to the leads and clients who will be receiving it.
2. Pick an emotion.
Successful emotional emails have clear emotional goals in mind. Social experiments have proven certain emotions act as triggers that will make individuals respond, with opens, clicks, and a series of actions based on your desired outcomes.
Hone in on a main emotion you want to drive home.
For example, if you’re sending an email to a buyer, you probably want to go with warm, positive emotions, rather than fear or anger. Working with a seller, you may go with humor to diffuse how difficult it is to stage a home and then offer a sense of freedom. Most important, you need to see a clear path to your intended emotional response and the outcome you’ve defined.
Make it happy.
While you have many choices for emotions to build on — delight, fear, sadness, a sense of urgency, humor, etc. — studies have shown that positivity can increase engagement, and that those exposed to positive pitches are twice as likely to accept a deal than those served negative pitches.
3. Develop a story.
Great emotions are built around relatable stories, and storytelling is one of the most effective ways to get your messages across quickly to a reader. According to Buffer, in an analysis of “1,400 case studies of successful advertising campaigns, campaigns with purely emotional content performed about twice as well (31% vs. 16%) as those with only rational content.” Once you’ve developed an emotion and a desired outcome, and you must create a story that will help draw the reader to both of those points.
Start by determining the goals and pain points of your customers.
Your story will either have to fulfill a customer’s goals or resolve their pain points to be effective. Write down what they want or don’t want, and start with that as the basis for your story. Leverage details your lead or client may have expressed directly into the email to connect with them at a deeper level.
“[People] would rather have one good, soul-satisfying emotion than a dozen facts.”
— Robert Keith Leavitt
Tell your story differently.
Predictability is the last thing you want when building emotions. That doesn’t mean you need to take your reader on an emotional rollercoaster, but it does mean you’ll need to create a story that they haven’t experienced before. This is what hooks your reader. Spark curiosity, use sentimental triggers and sensory details, or discuss relatable problems to which you can offer a quick and valuable solution.
Be authentic and relatable.
MailChimp went through various email stages to de-sales some email copy for an app release they were featuring in order make it more human. Notice the differences in language from their formulaic draft email to the exciting nature of their final email copy.
MailChimp’s rough copy, which didn’t quite fit their voice or build a strong emotional story for the reader:
Mailchimp’s final copy, which includes a relatable and humorous story that the reader can connect to:
By make these changes to personalize and humanize the email experience, they were able to increase their open rate to 32.6% (their average is 24.7%), increased their click-through rate to 6.3% (their average being 1.8%), and increased sales.
As you construct your story, re-read it and consider if you’d recite your email in person with close friends or clients. If it doesn’t pass that test, don’t send it.
You have limited space, so don’t go overboard with creating a novel or feature film. Simple, emotive stories can be some of the most effective for brand sales. From beginning to end, your “story” shouldn’t be longer than a paragraph or a minute. Be direct and brief, while using lots of sensory details to help your reader visualize and feel like they’re part of your story.
“The emotional brain processes sensory information in one fifth of the time our cognitive brain takes to assimilate the same input.” So, if a picture is worth a thousand words, you’ll be smart to include visuals in your email marketing.
Seeing emotion is a large part of the emotional bond created between humans, and brands have found diagrams and photography extremely helpful for creating an emotional experience, while video embedded directly into email can increase conversion rates by 50 percent. Try to find ways to make your email a mix of both text and visual, and hone in on what visuals will send the strongest message. The medium here is less important than developing a strong story. Don’t get hung up on logistics and use only those visuals that enhance your story.
4. Add some logic and value.
Constructing a value proposition.
While you can influence people to buy with emotion, there is a period of deep consideration that’s defined by logic, and that’s where your value proposition comes into play. This step resolves hesitation or questions that come after the excited gasp or sentimental feelings. The good news is, once you’ve got someone hooked into your emotional storytelling, they’re ripe for the convincing with even just a bit of logic.
Implicit and explicit value propositions strategically placed in your email language can make your customer feel as though they’re gaining something from your product or offer. Add details to your email that express the specifications of what you’re “selling.” Don’t get overly salesy here, but do use expressions that convey how you’d want your reader to interpret the emotional experience you’ve created: “And this home has just hit the market on a street with 3 other properties that sold in less than 30 days” or “I’ve helped eight families just like yours find their dream home in the first four months of 2014 alone.”
Just as you would in typical emails, you may opt to give your reader a free resource, like a link to a recent relevant blog post or ebook that will help them along the process even if they’re not ready to take the emotional action you hoped for. Make sure this resource is super specific to your topic and doesn’t detract from the emotional experience.
5. Rewrite your CTA.
You started with an intended outcome, but now it’s time to add some emotion to your original statement and make your CTA one that gets readers clicking. Use this opportunity to seal the deal with adjectives and strong emotional language that carries the story forward. Word choice is everything here (“Click here” isn’t nearly as emotive as “View this dream property, perfect for a family of four”).
6. Draw in everything to construct your subject line.
Your emotional connection starts at the subject line. It’s the first thing your reader will see, and will determine if they actually open your email, so it’s important this is just as emotive as what’s inside your email. See this example from business blogger Noah Kagan of OkDork.com.
The subject line already begins to develop an unexpected, but relatable story. And as you open the email, he’s presented visuals that elicit both sentimentality and humor, way before he even takes us on the journey. His sprinkling of both intriguing storytelling and visuals early in the email draws the reader in and encourages us to continue reading.
If you need inspiration for making eye-catching subject lines, take some inspiration from our Academy post on headline writing. Also, keeping subject lines fairly brief works wonders for engagement. MarketingProfs recommends between 6–10 words (which they saw receive a 21% open rate) and under 50 characters.
7. Personalize your email.
Always include your recipient’s name.
Modern email clients have merge fields you can use to personalize emails in any number of ways, and using them is extremely important to establishing an emotional connection with your reader, starting with the subject line and your welcome. According to MarketingProfs, “Emails with the recipient’s first name in the subject line had a higher open rate (18.3% compared with 15.7%).”
Speak directly to one person, not every customer.
Your email should feel like it’s being sent to that one recipient, and not in a blast. Express details in the first person or second person to make it the language feel more natural. And before signing off with a generic greeting, offer a personal way your customer can connect with you: Instead of a only a “thanks,” try offering a moment to say how you feel about what you’ve presented, and provide an easy way your customer can share their reactions with you.
For more real estate marketing ideas, check out How to Market Listings & Open Houses With Email and 5 Emails Real Estate Agents Should Send to Every Lead from our Academy.
What real estate email marketing tactics do you use to connect emotionally with customers? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
Published on September 23, 2014
Written by Sandra Manzanares
Writer, editor, and marketing manager with a passion for helping brands enhance their content marketing strategy. I'm a firm believer that creative storytelling is an essential part of the way we communicate. Constantly striving to fill my head with as much creative and analytical information as possible.